Manchester City: The Premier League 2011-12 Champions

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
May 13th, 2012
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Sergio Aguero won the Premier League title for Manchester City with a winning strike against 10-man QPR – four minutes into stoppage time at the Etihad Stadium.

City appeared destined to suffer the most remarkable collapse in Premier League history after falling 2-1 behind to Mark Hughes’s team.

But Edin Dzeko’s header from David Silva’s 92nd-minute corner, followed by Aguero’s strike, sealed the title in the most dramatic of circumstances.

And, despite the defeat, QPR avoided relegation due to Bolton’s defeat at Stoke.

Although City still had to take care of business by avoiding a calamitous slip against Hughes’s team, there was a celebratory mood at the Etihad prior to the game.

The Manchester City team celebrate winning the English Premier League following their soccer match against Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, May 13, 2012.

At times, it appeared as though the supporters felt that the title party would be a formality, but it did not take long for QPR to show that they were determined to make life difficult for City.

Hughes had sent his team out to frustrate the home side and, although Cisse and Bobby Zamora lined up as strikers, they barely came anywhere near the ball as City launched wave after wave of attack at the QPR goal.

Knowing that a point would be enough to keep them up, QPR’s game-plan was risky. A City goal would leave them chasing the game and leave them exposed to a breakaway, but as the home side toiled away, the visitors grew in confidence.

Yaya Toure had gone close on six minutes, with a 20 yard strike which sailed over the crossbar, and the first-half proceeded to follow the same pattern.

Goalkeeper Paddy missed a David Silva cross close to Sergio Aguero, but the Argentine forward as unable to get to the ball quickly enough to put it in.

In response, QPR tested City goalkeeper Joe Hart with a Cisse free-kick on 24 minutes, but the home side continued to pour forward and an opening goal appeared inevitable.

But the unrewarded pressure continued as Silva shot wide from 20 yards before Toure suffered a hamstring injury.

The Ivorian began limping heavily, but before being substituted, he delivered another crucial contribution by teeing up Zabaleta to score the opener.

Toure’s lay-off to the Argentine saw the right-back take a touch before his shot went past the weak palm of Kenny before bouncing into the net.

With QPR hearing of Bolton taking the lead at Stoke, the Londoners were now faced with relegation unless the scoreline changed in their favour.

But with the second-half just two minutes old, a calamitous error by Joleon Lescott gifted QPR an equaliser.

Lescott failed to deal with Shaun Wright-Phillips’s punt forward and his mis-header fell to Cisse, who beat Hart with a right-foot strike from 12 yards.

With United leading at Sunderland, City were now in trouble. They needed another goal.

But the game looked set to change in their favour when Barton was sent off for clashing with Tevez on 56 minutes.

The former City midfielder then made matters worse for himself when he kneed Aguero in the backside, sparking a melee on the pitch between both sets of players.

It was madness, but QPR were now down to ten men and they faced an almighty battle to stay level.

But incredibly, they weathered the storm and scored a second on the breakaway to make it 2-1 when Armand Traore’s cross was headed in by Mackie.

It was a stunning moment, one which sent the Etihad into shock, barring the 3,000 QPR fans who were ecstatic.

They still had 30 minutes to endure, however, against a team that had not lost at home in the league for more than a year.

But the onslaught came, yet as the clock past 90 minutes, City needed to score twice.

Incredibly, they managed it, with Dzeko and Aguero scoring at the death to seal City’s first title since 1968.

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